In our polarized world, it is easy for conversations to get stuck. How can we find new pathways forward on the big issues of our time, whether at the holiday dinner table, in our organizations, or on the wider political stage? Facilitator and author Jason Jay from MIT Sloan explores what happens inside ourselves when conversations go off the rails. He offers a tool called transformative contrasting to help people get unstuck and even harness the creative energy of polarization. His research focuses on how people navigate the tensions between personal, business, and social goals in sustainability efforts. His first book is Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World and he has published articles in the Academy of Management Journal and California Management Review. He teaches courses on strategy, innovation, and leadership for sustainable business at MIT, and engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies and organizations.
Log on to Facebook or Twitter any time of day, and you’ll find a familiar scene: people asking questions. “In a book rut – can anyone recommend a good novel?” “Boyfriend and I had a fight – should I dump him?” or “Am shopping for a newsuit — which color would look best on me?”
Social media has made it easier than ever before to ask questions of our friends, acquaintances, and other contacts. In some ways this is a good thing because we have more information to weigh, analyze, and consider before we make a decision. But in other ways, all this information and all these opinions can result in cognitive overload. It’s like going into the cereal aisle at the grocery store for every single decision.